Exterior Door Types: A Buying Guide for Homes and Commercial Spaces

When it comes to purchasing the exterior-facing doors for your residential or commercial space, it’s good to know which different types of doors offer the most benefits to your home or office based on a number of factors. Weather, sunlight exposure, high or low traffic considerations, and the size of the exterior entryway’s rough opening are just a few things to consider when picking out the exterior doors you want and need.

Other things to consider may fall under the heading of what you want rather than what you need for your entryways. For example, you may want custom designed doors with wrought iron embellishments, or you may have a firm idea about fire and impact ratings for your front and rear-facing exterior doors. Whatever the case, there will always be advantages to specific door types and perhaps some downsides to others.

Wood and fiberglass exterior door options

Not sure which materials your exterior doors should be made of? Review these descriptions and pointers for owning wood, fiberglass, sliding glass and steel exterior entryways for your home or office.

Choosing a wood type for exterior doors doesn’t have to be a big deal

For some, choosing between wood types alone may present a challenge, as there are many different species of wood to consider for your space. From mahogany and cedar to knotty alder and Douglas fir, the options can seem boundless. That said, the important things to consider are your existing doors and both your interior and exterior design—what will match or complement what you already have within these spaces? A good rule of thumb is to match wood with the same finish if you cannot match the wood species, which you can usually get a close or similar match to. Wood doors for exterior placement from ETO Doors can come with and without a door frame, so finding a prehung exterior door doesn’t have to be difficult or even pricier when you shop our online catalog.

Fiberglass doors offer superior support for high traffic areas and severe weather

If you haven’t considered fiberglass as the material for your exterior entryways because you’re afraid of how it will look, you should know it’s come a long way over the past several years. Fiberglass can now mimic authentic wood so well that only you have to know it’s not real wood. Offering superior style just like real wood does, but it can withstand a tremendous amount of high traffic day in and day out, year after year.

What’s more, fiberglass entryways into your home will never shrink, warp, or split the way that real wood can when exposed to sharp climbs in humidity and lots of rainy or snowy days. If you live where there are many different kinds of weather events on an ongoing basis, a fiberglass door may be the perfect fit for the front and rear entry points of your home. Additionally, fiberglass doors can be rated for safety, impact, and hurricanes, which will make your home that much safer. And finally, despite its many advantages over a variety of wood doors, fiberglass is often priced more economically, and you may very likely find what you want in style and color at a lower overall cost.

Single, double, French, and sliding glass door types

For homeowners who have been looking for exterior doors based on the size of the exterior rough opening for the front, rear, or side entryways into the home or office, a variety of door types will get the job done. If you have an average entryway size, a single door may well do just what you need it to. Conversely, if you have a wider exterior frame for your entryways, you may not know whether you should be considering a French door or double door system for your space. Typically, French doors are narrower than double doors, which come in widths that match two average-size single doors, so your rough opening will need to be larger than what you need for French doors, so keep that in mind.

If you have been considering double or French exterior doors but fear they may not be as safe or offer the same level of energy savings you will get from a single door, fear not—you will find exterior double and French doors that offer superior safety ratings and great energy savings when you review the selections for these types of entryways with ETO Doors.

For those who are considering sliding glass doors or movable glass partitions and glass bifold door systems for a larger aperture that allows more light and a bigger view of the outdoors into the home or office, ETO Doors has many terrific options for you to consider. But, if you have crossed these off of your list for fear they will leak conditioned air and allow hot or cold air into the home, you’ll be glad to know glass entryway options with us offer the same or even better energy savings than solid wood or fiberglass doors. What’s more, solid glass doors for residential and commercial spaces are typically rated for safety and/or hurricane rated, which means a higher safety standard for your family when facing an extreme weather event.

Fire and impact rated exterior doors

If you are a stickler for privacy and security, you may already know exactly what you want when it comes to impact and fire rated doors for your exterior. But, for those who do not know, these various ratings will give you more of what you want in an exterior doorway.

Surprisingly, rated doors of all kinds will meet and exceed your needs—for example, many homeowners are under the misconception that glass doors or doors with glass panes and sliding glass doors cannot withstand the same level of stress as solid wood or solid steel doors. The truth is that these doors, as well as both French doors and double entryway doors, can still offer extremely high fire and impact ratings, and hurricane rated glass doors and glass panes within doors can often take an even higher impact than their solid door counterparts. So, if you have taken a door with glass design components or a specific double door design out of the running for safety reasons, you’ll be pleased to learn that these can offer just what you need in a safe exterior door for your home or office.

Regardless of which type of door you decide on for your home or office, ETO Doors is here to help you get exactly what you want. Have a look around our website to see the variety of wood, fiberglass, and glass doors for exteriors we offer—we’re sure you’ll find just what you want and need in an exterior door!

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